This has been a tough week. I have been short with my husband, I have not used a nice tone on the work radio, there have been many frustrating moments on the bus. I thought it was Shawn related, until I looked at my calendar and pieced together why my emotions had been so bonkers. Turns out, I have been missing my sister Kathy. Today would’ve been her 59th b.day. I am so grateful that I had gone to meet Kath, in person. We had never been together, as she was given up for adoption, when she was very young. When I was in my early 20’s Kathy called me explaining who she was. Throughout the years we had many conversations. After Shawn died, Kath checked in on me, every couple of days. When she received a bad report regarding her ovarian cancer, I checked in on her every other day.
It was so neat, we would finish each other’s sentences. We were in sync. The day I walked into her bedroom, in Pennsylvania, we both felt like the other was a kindred spirit. Kathy was first to notice that she was the non-emotional, private type of person. I would also add, she got the brains.
After our first talk, back in the early ’80’s, Kathy sent me a package of Pennsylvania things. The only thing, of the many, that I remember, Kathy’s favorite :
It was the best maple syrup I had ever tasted.
I am going to make audio a post I wrote from my visit with Kathy. A Broken Vessel June 27, 2015
For quite some time, this branch has perplexed me. This branch had grown through fence boards. Why did the owners leave a broken branch ? One day after work, I saw why. God intended for me to see that He can make lovely what appears broken and lifeless. He can use anything for His purposes. I noticed this broken beauty near the time I was preparing to visit my sister, Kathy=K#1, in Pennsylvania. How could I, a broken vessel, do any good for my sister who was dying from ovarian cancer ? How could I encourage her husband and son, who are her main caregivers ? Would I be able to squash my grieving mom emotions ? Would I have enough energy for the tasks ahead ? Would K#1 feel comfortable enough to allow me to help ?
Upon meeting, K#1 apologized for not being healthy enough for us to run around and learn who each other was and find answers to our confusing past. She told me how the hospital staff were so thrilled about the 2 Kathys meeting. They thought our story was neat. Kath told them she was thrilled she had lived long enough for us to meet. As she was bedridden, before my arrival. I told her, I was ready to assist in her care-whatever way I could. Any plans to learn of our past, I put away. I saw a rare tear form as she told me she felt so bad that our plans were changed. I told her that I would serve in whatever way might bring her comfort, even if it was holding her cold toes or my clammy hands cooling her hot shoulders. There is the first first: our meeting in person. Another first, Kath actually thanked me for having clammy hands, as she has been so hot. I cannot count the squeamish faces of those who have shaken my clammy hands-with warnings. And here my sister was thankful for my clammy hands—what God uses for His purposes.
A few days after I arrived, June 17, Kath was admitted to the hospital. So, another first. A taxi ride. I had not brought the proper $ card and could not rent a car. The taxi drivers were pleasant. It is what the 2nd taxi driver told me that caught me by surprise. That Friday morning the 2 drivers were waiting for calls for rides needed. The senior took mine. It was mentioned that the destination was for Bryn Mawr. The other driver said, “Oh yeah, I picked up an old lady and took her to Bryn Mawr, yesterday.” Another first, being called “an old lady”. I keep forgetting to check a mirror to verify his comments—oh well !!!
I brought with me a neat book I found: I have named it: Kathy’s Encouragement Book. It is my hope that Kath’s visitors would jot a note about special memories each has with Kath. I hope it will encourage, not only Kath, but Tom and Rob and friends, as they share. So I am going to add, to this post, what I wrote in Kathy’s Encouragement Book. My hope is you can make this large enough to read.
Another first. Tuesday afternoon, June 23, a tornado alert buzzed over our cell phones. Kath was typing a note on fb, while I held the curtain open (a no no) so we could watch the rain pour. We learned we both love thunder storms. So yeah, another first for both of us, an almost tornado. A lot of rain and a lot of wind and loss of power- a bummer for someone on oxygen and needing air conditioning-thank goodness Tom had a generator, and thankfully the weather wasn’t too terribly hot.
Kath doesn’t have much energy. I love it when Tom and I are conversating and she gives a thumb up to what she agrees with-she is a quick listener. I love hearing her bed creak as she uses the controller to make it go up and down. I call it her bed exercisings.
Kath & Tom have a black lab-Sam about 13 years old. His health is not so good, every move to reposition takes a lot of work. He needs to be near Kath’s bed. When anything new is put in the room, it has to pass his sniff test. He does not mind that he is in the way. I decided to pen a note for him in Kath’s book:
And thus another first, the first goodbye for us 2 Kathys, as I go home. Parting really is such sweet sorrow-I will leave it at that. Thanks: Tom, Rob and Kayla. Kathy died a few days after I had returned. At-least we were able to meet.
During some free times, at Kathy’s, I found myself having missing Shawn moments. I found a video of Shawn wrapping Ella in a blanket. I paused the video and took a photo of a precious moment. Shawn was a very attentive Dad and he had an excellent work ethic.